Javier García Oliva: Sentencing the Catalan Separatists: The Painful Vindication of Equality Before the Law and Separation of Powers

The fundamental point is that a group of people exercising political power decided that they were justified in ignoring a court of law which was delineating the scope of their authority. This is key, because if the executive is free to set the limits on the boundaries of executive power, then the separation of powers becomes a mockery, and no effective safeguards against tyranny remain.

UK Constitutional Law Association

As the dust settles following Miller (No. 2)/Cherry, tension inevitably mounts over the next instalment of the Brexit saga, and how the Prime Minister will interpret his commitment to respecting the Benn Act. Against this backdrop, it is interesting to speculate as to whether recent events in Spain will have any impact upon his decisions, because the Tribunal Supremo in Madrid has just sentenced the Catalan politicians who chose to disregard both the Spanish Constitution and the courts. In short, although cleared of the most serious charge of rebellion, the majority were convicted of the lesser (but still extremely grave) offence of sedition, whilst others were found to be guilty of misusing public funds.

Even though the incarcerated separatists and their followers argue that this was a political decision, maintaining that they are prisoners of conscience, there is no evidence to support such an allegation. Indeed, it flies…

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Angus Deaton Understanding and misunderstanding randomized controlled trials

Tonight’s Democratic debate

Why Evolution Is True

I didn’t think I’d learn anything, and I really haven’t. The only change in my attitudes is that I like Elizabeth Warren less and Pete Buttigieg more, and everyone else pretty much the same as before. Even though “Mayor Pete” seems to have little chance to be the Democratic nominee, Warren’s evasion of questions grates on me. She dissimulates too much.

At least Bernie admits that “Medicare for All” will entail an increase in taxes for everyone, but says—and this is the way to couch it—that although taxes will go up, medical care costs for the poor and middle class will go down more. In net, he says, they’ll be paying less. I’m not sure that’s true, and I don’t favor “Medicare for all” (I favor a public option), but at least he’s honest. Warren can’t even admit that.

And Biden still looks befuddled.

I don’t think I can…

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Peter Singer on free speech and the denial of the Holocaust that murdered three of his grandparents

What did millionaire @SenSanders build from scratch?

35 years later: Diamond-Dybvig model of bank runs

Deirdre McCloskey on why liberalism works

Tirole on the difficulties of network and utility regulation. Tradeoff between high cost, low profit firms v. low cost, high profit firms


Perjury, Wager of Law, and Debt in the Elizabethan Star Chamber

Legal History Miscellany

Guest post by Ian Williams, 15 October 2019

Wager of law was a central part of a serious disagreement between the courts of King’s Bench and Common Pleas in the last decades of Elizabeth I’s reign. The dispute concerned the availability and acceptability of the writ of assumpsit being used to sue for debts when those debts could also be recovered using the writ of debt.[1] The writ of debt was the long-established remedy for such claims and it permitted a defendant to wage her law or have the case tried by a jury. The insurgent writ of assumpsit permitted only trial by jury.

A defendant sued using a writ of debt could successfully defend their claim by completing the formal process of waging their law. Coming before the judges in Westminster Hall, the defendant would have to swear an oath denying their liability. Oath-helpers would then swear to…

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Guardian buries real cause of peace process failure

The narrative that the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin by extremist Yigal Amir killed the Israeli-Palestinian peace process is advanced in the headline of an Oct. 11th Guardian review of a new Israeli film on the 1995 tragedy:

It’s also included in the opening paragraph of the review, written by Anne Joseph:

The murder of an Israeli prime minister by an Orthodox Jew was inconceivable,” says American-Israeli film-maker Yaron Zilberman. “For anyone who was pro-peace, it was beyond anything that we could fathom.” The assassination of Yitzhak Rabin by the religious ultra-nationalist law student Yigal Amir, at a peace rally on 4 November 1995, was one of the most traumatic events in Israel’s history. Rabin’s death buried the prospect of peace, further divided an already riven society and left an indelible mark on Israel’s politics.

The Guardian claim doesn’t hold up to scrutiny.

First, shortly after Rabin’s assassination, Likud leader…

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